By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

SAO PAULO, March 4, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Hillary Clinton told Brazilians yesterday to consider legalizing abortion in a nationally televised interview broadcast from Zumbi dos Palmares University, in Sao Paulo.

In response to a question about the prohibition of abortion in Brazil, posed by one of the students, Clinton responded by saying that legalizing abortion "is something that needs to be carefully thought about because of the great effect it has on the numbers of children that poor women have that they can’t educate, feed properly, care for, the great toll that illegal abortions take, and the denial of women being able to exercise such a fundamental personal right."

Abortion in Brazil is illegal except in rape cases.  More than two-thirds of Brazilians support their country's laws prohibiting the killing of the unborn, a number that has climbed in recent years.

The Secretary of State also repeated a controversial claim she made last year in congressional hearings regarding a trip she supposedly made to a Brazilian hospital where women were dying from botched illegal abortions.

"I visited a hospital here in Brazil back in the 1990s, and I’ll never forget one of the doctors telling me that this hospital that I visited was a hospital that had the best of feelings and the worst of feelings," said Clinton. "And I said, 'Well, what do you mean?' He said, 'Well, half the hospital are women having babies, and they are so excited. And half the hospital are women who are suffering from illegal abortions, and they are very sad.' I’ll never forget that."

The words used by Clinton were almost identical to those she uttered in a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in April of 2009, when she said, "I've been in hospitals in Brazil where half the women were enthusiastically and joyfully greeting their babies, and the other half were fighting for their lives against botched abortions."

However, when questioned by the National Catholic Register following the hearing, the State Department admitted it could not substantiate the story.

Spokeswoman Laura Tischler reportedly told the Register that she was "unable to confirm where or when the trip she referred to in her testimony was - where specifically in Brazil she was visiting or when the trip occurred."


Related links:

Hillary Clinton's Remarks at Zumbi dos Palmares University, March 3, 2010
http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/03/137777.htm

Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Secretary Clinton Fails to Substantiate Claimed Brazil Hospital Visit with Victims of Botched Abortions
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051208.html

More than Two-Thirds of Brazilians are Against the Legalization of Abortion
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/apr/08040803.html